Backward Glance

'The term orphism* comes from the mythic persona of Orpheus, son of Oeagreus, king of Thrace, and Calliope, a muse. The god Apollo gave him a lyre and the Muses taught him how to use it. With his lyre, Orpheus seduced and charmed ferocious beasts, trees and rocks. After a stay in Egypt, he came back to marry Eurydices. One day, Eurydices met Arsitée, who tried to rape her. When she tried to escape she stepped on a snake which killed her. Orpheus tried to bring her back to life by going to the Tartare, the underworld. There he seduced Cerberus, the three Judges of the Dead and Hades himself, who gave Orpheus the permission to bring back Eurydices to the upper world. The only thing that Hades asked of Orpheus was that he did not look back at Eurydices to see if she was following him back to life. Having looked at her, she dies, and Orpheus returns alone to the upper world where he becomes a recluse in the forest.'


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* Orphism |ˈôrˌfizəm|

1 a mystic religion of ancient Greece, originating in the 6th or 7th century BC and based on poems (now lost) attributed to Orpheus, emphasizing the necessity for individuals to rid themselves of the evil part of their nature by ritual and moral purification throughout a series of reincarnations.

2 a short-lived art movement ( c. 1912) within cubism, pioneered by a group of French painters (including Robert Delaunay, Sonia Delaunay-Terk, and Fernand Léger) and emphasizing the lyrical use of color rather than the austere intellectual cubism of Picasso, Braque, and Gris.